SPECIAL TREATMENT? Two new COVID-19 cases in Iloilo, Bacolod cities

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said they allowed the daughter of City Legal Officer Edgardo Gil to return home without undergoing tests in Metro Manila as protocols dictate because of her mother’s death. The mayor also blamed the lack of test kits in Metro Manila. Atty. Gil’s daughter later tested positive for COVID-19, the seventh in Iloilo City so far. (Arnold Almacen/CMO)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Emme Rose Santiagudo

Was there special treatment in the case of the latest coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient in Iloilo City who flew home from Metro Manila without following protocols set by national and local governments on returning Ilonggos?

This controversy came to fore after Mayor Jerry Treñas and the Department of Health confirmed that an Ilongga who went home from Metro Manila is the seventh COVID-19 case in Iloilo City.

In a bulletin issued on Wednesday, the Department of Health-Center for Health Development in Western Visayas (DOH-CHD 6) confirmed that a 51-year-old female from La Paz, Iloilo City is among the two new additional cases in the region as of April 21, 2020.

According to Treñas, the patient arrived in Iloilo City over the weekend via private helicopter. The patient went home from Metro Manila to attend the funeral of her mother.

Ang aton nga ikapito nga kaso taga-Lapaz nga nagpuli sang sini lang bangud napatay iya nga iloy,” he said in a press conference at the City Hall on Wednesday.

In an interview with Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo Wednesday evening, Treñas confirmed the patient’s name as Tania Gil-Padilla, daughter of City Legal Officer Edgardo Gil.

Treñas said the patient boarded a private helicopter that was chartered by the city government to purchase additional testing kits from South Korea. The chopper was hired by Mrs. Padilla’s employer, according to Treñas.

Isa ini siya ka taga syudad and nagpauli ini siya bangud napatay ang iya iloy. Sang nagalisensya siya sa amon, ang team indi man tani magtugot sa iya bangud didto siya nagtiner sa Metro Manila, ugaling may mga kinahanglan kita nga kits nga kinahanglan man para sa laboratory naton so isa man lang siya, so gindala siya,” he said.

“She pleaded to come home because of her mother’s death aside from the fact that she is the only child in their family,” he added.

The mayor said the patient, the aircraft crew, and the people who fetched her from the airport were subjected to COVID-19 tests upon arriving in Iloilo.

Mrs. Padilla was the only one who tested positive for the virus. She was labeled as WV Patient No. 55 and is asymptomatic and under home quarantine.

Protocols set by the Office of the Civil Defense and Iloilo City government require Ilonggos who want to return to the city and province of Iloilo to undergo testing and secure clearances indicating that they are COVID-19-free before they are allowed to travel back home.

The same protocol is required of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other Ilonggos stranded in Metro Manila and other areas.

Brushing aside insinuations of special treatment, Treñas said he was surprised that testing is hard to come by in Metro Manila.

Kabudlay mangita test kits sa Manila,” he added.



Meanwhile, DOH-CHD 6 also recorded another COVID-19 case in Bacolod City.

According to Dr. Renilyn Reyes, DOH-CHD 6 spokesperson, the patient is a 69-year-old male from Bacolod City (WV Patient No. 54) who expired last April 9.

“His cause of death was due to acute gastroenteritis with severe dehydration and severe metabolic acidosis. The patient is a critical COVID-19 case,” Reyes said in an online briefing on Wednesday.

Reyes said the patient only lasted three hours in a hospital in Bacolod City as he expired on the same day.

“Same day siya gin-admit and napatay siya. He only lasted three hours sa hospital,” she said.

The specimen of the patient were sent to Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City on April 11 and the laboratory results only came out on April 20.

The laboratory test result came out more than 10 days from the patient’s death until it was released.

According to Reyes, the delay in the release of laboratory results, particularly in the first and second week of April, was due to the recalibration, shift of testing protocols, and parallel testing done by WVMC.

As of Wednesday, the region has 55 COVID-19 cases with eight deaths and 11 recoveries.